September 24, 2016

Review: Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER New York to Istanbul

Introduction Part Two
Planning & Booking
Sheraton JFK Airport
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge JFK
Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER New York (JFK) to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Arrivals Lounge
St. Regis Istanbul
Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class A330-300 Istanbul to Male
Transfer from Male to Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives
Transfer from Conrad Maldives to Male
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-200 Male to Singapore
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Singapore
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge to Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Singapore to Tokyo (HND)
Andaz Tokyo
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo (NRT)
ANA First Class 777-300ER Tokyo (NRT) to San Francisco

Turkish Airlines TK4
New York (JFK) to Istanbul (IST)
August 18, 2016
Aircraft:  777-300ER
Seats:  3A/3B

Boarding was called in the lounge and we proceeding to the gate.  There was already a dozen people queuing in the business class line when we arrived.  At this point we were a few minutes passed our boarding time so I checked FlightAware and our departure was pushed back 30 minutes.  We each made a few last minute calls while standing in line and then boarding was finally called.  Note that no announcements were made about the delay.

We boarded and bounded down the jetway before turning left into the larger of two business class cabins.  We were seated in 3A/3B in four row cabin setup 2-3-2.  

Turkish Airlines 777-300ER Business Class
While seating in the middle of the middle section would really suck, that wasn't  a problem for anyone on this flight.  The cabin seats 49 and we pushed back with roughly 25 seats occupied.  We had flown Turkish a few times in 2013 but we were eager to see how the service and product had evolved since.  We would not be disappointed.

We settled into our seats and played with the Superman/Batman amenity kits already at our seats.  The kits were a faux leather and really nothing to write home about.

Turkish Airlines business class amenity kit
The hard case Porsche Design kit I received on my flight a few years back was MUCH better.  Definitely an area where Turkish could step it up but certainly a minor detail.  In addition to the amenity kit, there was a packaged blanket and lumbar support pillow at our seats.

We were offered welcome drinks (homemade lemon mint - so good!) on the ground along with slippers, wine lists, dinner menus, and breakfast cards.

Red wines
The breakfast card idea is great.  Similar to a hotel room service breakfast, you fill out your breakfast order and prior to landing, it's delivered.  No looking at the menu or ordering after sleeping.

IFE controls
Seat controls with massage function
We pushed back around 45 minutes late and after a lengthy taxi and wait at JFK, we blasted off for Istanbul!

Pushing back with NYC skyline looming
Ready for takeoff 
View of JFK
Turkish has a great entertainment system with live tv, standard movies and tv shows along with a great moving map setup and multiple outside cameras.  They also offer free wifi for business class passengers although the coverage was limited once we were over the Atlantic Ocean.

Moving map
Live TV
Once in the air, the meal service began.  We both started with a class of Tattinger Brut Reserve which certainly isn't Krug but still a great way to begin the flight.

Champs and nuts 
Champs and amuse
Followed by warm nuts and bread.  Turkish sets the table with an electronic candle which is really pretty cool.
Candlelit dinner
With window shades shut and dimmed cabin lights, you might as well be in a romantic restaurant eating and drinking while watching your favorite rom-com on an HDTV.

While I keep the Champagne going, Emily tasted all of the reds.

Wine tasting
Turkish catering is done by DO&CO and among the best business class food in the sky.  The highlight is the mezze cart.  When the cart hit row 3, we each selected one of everything and destroyed it.  I should have stopped there as my main beef course was dry and not really edible.  I finished the meal with some green tea ice cream which was excellent.

Candlelight closeup
Table setup 
Beef main course
Even though it was only 2:30PM ET, it was 9:30PM in Turkey so time for bed.  A new addition to Turkish is the bed setup.

Bed setup
Not sure when they started this but last time we flew Turkish, we were sleeping on the seat with only a blanket and pillow to sleep.  They have really stepped up their game in this area with a mattress pad, extra pillow, super comfortable duvet, and the flight attendants making beds.

Time for bed
Everyone wanted their bed made at the same time so that was a bit of a mess.  But once our beds were made, we climbed in and were both pleasantly surprised with how comfortable they were.

I slept for a solid 6 hours before waking up for breakfast.  The eggs were delicious and the "room service" menu setup gave me a chance to sleep an hour or so more than I would have had on other carriers.  After breakfast, we cleaned up for landing and enjoyed the scene outside as we flew over Istanbul before making a sweeping turn for landing.

We landed right on time at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.  It was a bit surreal to land here after all that's happened this year.  But Istanbul is one of our favorite cities in the world and we were so excited to explore for a day prior to the Maldives.  We ended up with a bus gate which is all too common at Ataturk.  We were bussed to the terminal and smoothly navigated our way through immigration, baggage claim, and customs before entering the terminal and making our way to the arrivals lounge.

Final Thoughts:

Turkish Airlines has to be one of the best ways to get from the US to Europe.  On a flight this short (flight time was under 9 hours) you really want to get a good meal and maximize sleep before landing in the morning.  We were able to check all those boxes.  Service is unpolished but the cabin crew were warm and friendly and definitely well intentioned.  The seat is comfortable for both lounging and sleeping and well setup with easy to use seat controls and a fantastic entertainment system.  For 160,000 United MileagePlus miles in business class all the way to Male, we definitely got our money's worth.

Next up:  Turkish Airlines Istanbul Arrivals Lounge

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